More Digital Things To Buy With Your Digital Moneys

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Today (May 20th, 2013) on Comixology, there is a sale focusing on one of my favorite current comic book writers, Kieron Gillen. So for only 99 cents an issue you can get nearly full runs of his work on Journey Into Mystery and Uncanny X-Men. I say “nearly full” since there are some dips into crossovers here and there, but don’t worry about that. If you have $45…buy them all. If you have less than that, well, I’d say buy all of Journey Into Mystery. Its that good.

Here’s the sale. It’s good until 11pm tonight: http://www.comixology.com/Kieron-Gillen-Sale/comics-collection/1202

Journey Into Mystery is all about Loki, the Norse trickster god and brother to Thor. Loki that nearly ended the world, then sacrificed himself, then was resurrected as a child who remembers little of his evil deeds, but still has a treacherous nature. It’s a beautifully written and illustrated series. Gillen is paired with a number of talented storytellers including Dough Braithwaite, Mitch Breitweiser, Richard Elson, Carmine Di Giandomenico, Alan Davis and Stephanie Hans. It’s funny. It’s heartbreaking. It is well worth your moneys.

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That is Loki’s Hel-puppy, Thori. Yes.

Gillen’s Uncanny X-Men, in which he’s teamed with Carlos Pacheo, Greg Land, Daniel Acuna and Ron Garney, is a fun continuation of themes explored during Morrison, Whedon, and Ellis’s runs with the X-Men, in which Cyclops leads a team of mutants that’s goal is remind humanity that they are there to save the world while also reminding them they are not to be F’d with. There are no adorable hell-dogs in that series, but Namor is a pretty lovable jerk.

Buy these comics and buy them today. Come on. Hel-puppies. There’s at least 5 of them. They’re all adorable and evil.

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1/11/13: Buy This Right Now, Uncanny X-Force by Rick Remender, Jerome Opena and others

Sorry for the “and others” other talented artists that have brought Uncanny X-Force to life, but time is of the essence (Quick time-essence break, the colors on this book? RIDICULOUSLY GOOD, courtesy of Dean White. This comic is like a dark and scary and awesome dream because of that guy)!

Ok, folks. The first 31 issues of Uncanny X-Force are on sale for 99 cents each at Comixology. Don’t tip your toes in, drop the $31 and get it all. It’s worth it. LINK HERE IN FULL UGLY URLNESS: http://www.comixology.com/Uncanny-X-Force-1/digital-comic/AUG100524

Screen Shot 2012-09-17 at 10.24.08 PMUncanny X-Force is about X-Force (I know, dumb name, but dumb names are the name of the game in superhero comics, so get past it mr or ms fancy cool pants), the secret black-ops team of X-Men. They kill threats to mutant kind  before those threats can make their latest attempt to kill mutants. This team of killers sometimes has problems with this (moral dilemmas!). There’s action and Sci-Fi (Not Hard  Sci-Fi, sorry Forrest), there’s dimension hopping and evil cyborg time travel duplicates. There are villains attempting to kill our heroes with their butts:

Screen Shot 2012-09-17 at 10.24.44 PMFor reals.

It’s also a great  companion book for anyone who enjoyed Grant Morrison’s New X-Men, as it expands on several characters and concepts from that run. Remender also revisits the Age of Apocalypse universe, making it even darker than those of us who grew up in the 90s remember it (and better, too. 90s X-Men comics DO NOT hold up).

I’d love to write about this book more, but you only have til 11pm to get past your indecisiveness to buy all these awesome comics!!! Seriously, it’s a steal. It also doesn’t depend upon years of continuity for enjoyment, nor does it lose any momentum by getting caught up in company crossovers. Everything you need to read is in these 31 issues (and in 6 more that are still at full price, but we can all wait for a price drop on those). Read this comic, and then we’ll come back here in a few days time to go a little bit more in detail about how awesome it is, and how amazing Dean White’s colors are.

(Disclaimer: I don’t see a dime for telling you to buy anything off Comixology. It’s how I read my comics, I think their 99 cent sales are fantastic, and as a result I’ve probably given them most of my dimes).

 

 

Not, NOW! Then! Not THEN, Now! (Oh, and Hawkeye is still awesome)

Marvel NOW!

Well. It’s maybe slightly better than DC’s New 52 as far as stupid marketing names go, but it’s mostly a stupid marketing name that’s been slapped on a number of good comics.

Last year, DC Comics relaunched their entire superhero line by canceling every title it was publishing, and launching 52 series starting at #1. They also made all the heroes younger and restarted their histories and made me type this goddamn stupid sentence explaining it all.

Now (haha, now), while I have been trumpeting comics that are outside the super hero genre, I am still susceptible to stupid marketing names, and on top of that, Marvel does seem to be pushing this as a creative-team focused relaunch, rather than a “everything you know about the characters is different” approach. This week, I bought a couple issues of from this venture, and I think most of them are pretty good entry points for people looking to check out some good comics.

Fantastic Four seems to offer a continuation of what has come before. That was my first reaction anyway. The challenge presented for a creator on any of these titles is maintaining a faithfulness to the concept while also making it interesting and relevant and interesting for readers new and old. Simply parroting out the core concept of a character or characters without adding anything to it…well, what you get in those instances are forgettable comic books, or memorably shitty comic book films: Fantastic Four, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, The Amazing Spider-Man…I could go on, but that would not help anyone.

Upon re-reading this issue, I feel like it’s a great re-introduction of The Fantastic Four. Writer Matt Fraction (yes, I know I’m all “Fraction, Fraction, Fraction” lately, but, well, Shut up.) and artist Mark Bagley are so far presenting a great looking family adventure comic.

Fraction’s got a pretty good grasp on each character dialogue-wise. In this first issue Reed, Sue, Ben, Johnny and the kids all stand out from each other, and the premise for this run is laid bare: the adults are bringing the kids with them on adventures to be closer to them…and because their powers might be killing them.  While some of Bagley’s “normal” looking people have very similar faces and expressions, he’s really bringing his best work to the bigger, weirder moments and characters, so I can’t wait to see him cut loose on more adventures as the series continues.

Deadpool offers a fast paced and funny comic book, with Tony Moore’s art offering as many visual gags as there are one-liners uttered by Deadpool and almost every other character in the book. Said one-liners are written by Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn, and while the supporting characters seem to get the better material in the first issue, by issue two nearly every joke by the wise-cracking mercenary is landing, too.

The second issue offers a battle with Teddy Roosevelt (I LOVE TEDDY ROOSEVELT AND ILLUSTRATED CARICATURES OF HIM!!!) that is sprinkled with a few Looney Toons-esque moments. And this slapstick filled smackdown is just a small portion of the greatness that is this issue. There’s also Electricity Ghost Ben Franklin. Let that sink in, then go buy these comics.

X-Men: Legacy is something that didn’t interest me as a concept. “Professor Xavier’s crazy son goes off on his own to fulfill his father’s zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.” But I heard some good buzz about it, so I decided to check it out. Simon Spurrier and Tan Eng Huat have created a book that embraces and rejects the X-Men concept at the same time. Or maybe it doesn’t. I honestly don’t know yet, because in the first issue, these two creators build two worlds and then shatter them, leaving me curious as to what will come next. I honestly think this comic would be even better for someone with almost ZERO knowledge of the X-Men, so if you’ve never read an X-Men comic before, but are interested in exploring the trials and tribulations of a powerful and extremely unstable young man, check out X-Men: Legacy.

And, as my title said, Hawkeye is still running strong. It also technically fits into Marvel’s NOW! initiative of pairing fantastic writers, though it is thankfully free of that silly red all caps branding. This story arc has Javier Pulido subbing in for regular artist (and cover artist) David Aja. According to the letters page, Pulido and Aja will be swapping on story arcs, and after this excellent issue, I am more than OK with that. I’m not going to go into the plot of the issue. Just imagine me projecting you a slideshow of some awesome panels.

THIS

THIS

THIS

and THIS.

Awesome panel slideshow aside, this is shaping up to be a great book that will define Hawkeye as more than “the dumb guy with a bow and arrows.”

So, I’m pretty impressed with Marvel’s…ugh…NOW! efforts that I’ve read thus far. I bought these all on Comixology, and you can too if you’re someone who has been looking for an entry or re-entry point into some Marvel Comic Books. Both the creator focused marketing and the quality of these comics gives me some hope that Marvel isn’t just churning out books soullessly in support of other media endeavors, but is going through a period of experimentation again as they did in the early 2000’s.

“Would you prefer yellow spandex?” LOL, Movie Cyclops! New X-Men by Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely, Etc

There’s two things I really love about Grant Morrison’s New X-Men and BOTH of them begin with the letter U. But first, for those  hearing about X-Men and mutants for the first time, mutants are super-powered beings whose mutations (super powers or deformities) manifest at puberty. The X-Men are a team founded by Professor Charles Xavier to protect mutants from a world that fears and hates them. And on a metaphorical level, Mutants are young people, they’re teenagers, they’re minorities, they’re anyone who FEELS like a minority (again, teenagers).

1) Uniforms: Grant Morrison and his artists put the X-Men back in uniforms (for awhile they all wore…whatever. There were pouches…so many pouches). The first X-Men movie did this first a few years prior, but these were way cooler. There’s kind of a variation of these in the film X-Men: First Class, but I think they worked a lot better on the page.

2) Ugly Mutants: For the most part, “ugly mutants” in X-Men comics were blue. Fuzzy and blue. Essentially Muppets. Yeah, there were some weirdos living in the sewer, but where would they fit in a swinging soap opera with super powers? No one wants to bang an ugly mutant. Well, except for OTHER ugly mutants, and the trashy girl who smokes (she makes out with this dude).

But Morrison really took the X-Men to a point where he boiled them down to their essential concepts.

  • Mutants are feared and hated.
  • Mutants are the next stage in human evolution (And he makes it FOR REALS this time, when we find out that humans will be extinct within a few generations).

For the sake of not having an absurdly long title, I cut mentions of the artists. BUT, here’s who collaborated with Morrison on New X-Men: Frank Quitely, Ethan Van Sciver, Igor Kordey, Lenil Francis Yu, John Paul Leon, Keron Grant, Phil Jiminez, Chris Bachalo, and Marc Silvestri. Each one contributes their own unique style, but maintains the “try to keep up, gonna throw a lot of weird stuff at you pace” that comes with a Grant Morrison comic book. Lenil Francis Yu draws one of the more experimental issues of the series, which is entirely “widescreen,” in which the character of Xorn, a mutant with a star for a brain in an iron prison (see weird stuff, thrown at YOU!), is introduced while Cyclops, Wolverine and the gang indulge in some espionage.

This is probably the best X-Men comic. Period. Whether you’re new to the concept, or coming into it from the movies, or grew up with them as a kid. Morrison and the artists he’s paired with never let you forget that this is all inherently weird.

Hmm…I don’t think I’m doing a great job selling this, but I’m still gonna publish it, and keep this line in pondering it. BUT, this is the best X-Men comic. Beyond boiling the X-Men down to their basic concepts and doing it right, there’s ALSO aliens, evil twins, designer mutant drugs, harvesting of mutant organs, and as I’ve mentioned, weird bird guys making out with skanky girls with wings. If any of my terrible musing on this has interested you, you can buy this on Comixology, or get a couple of beautiful trade paperbacks like I have (that I am TERRIBLE at photographing as you can see from the panels above).